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Green Buddhism: The meaning of Green Buddhism

Buddhism is fundamentally about seeing “reality” as it really is. This may have been interpreted as an individual hero quest in the past, but for us — here, now — it encompasses facing the climate crisis, extinctions, pollution, and destruction of our planet through our own misguided extractivism, consumerism, and materialism. It’s an “all-hands-on-deck” situation.

Buddhist practice is an evidence-based investigation, a systems approach that is entirely congruent with modern scientific methods, but without the naïve belief that science is always objective or that technology is the solution to all our problems. You could say that Green Buddhism is Engaged Buddhists’ response to the reality of planet Earth in the Anthropocene, looking for the causes of the suffering and figuring out how to resolve them as expeditiously as possible. Indeed, Shakyamuni Buddha was frequently referred to as The Great Physician.

The diagnosis: human overshoot has caused us to live beyond our planet’s means. If you read Limits to Growth, by Donella Meadows et al. back in the 1970s, or if you’ve shown your students movies from the Story of Stuff Project by Annie Leonard, or if you’ve seen the art of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky, you knew this was coming.

Green Buddhism

The remedy: Regenerative environmental design and a sustainable socio-economic structure, based on a new value proposition.

Back in 1973, Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered, by E.F. Schumacher, was the first popular book to present what Buddhist economics could look like in the modern era. In 2017, Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist, by Kate Raworth, updates Schumacher’s model with both overshoot boundaries on the outer edge and social equity shortfalls on the inner edge of our future safe zone. Neither of these authors professes to be a Buddhist, but their paradigms are entirely congruent with a Buddhist perspective.

As Buddhists have taken up the challenges of the Anthropocene, their initiatives have taken many forms.

Green Buddhism

What does the meaning of the green Buddha mean?

In Buddhism, the light of the Buddha shines brightly, as it is. There are also different levels of Buddhas, including Buddhas of the past, Buddhas of the present, Buddhas of the future, including Buddhas of the Arhats, Buddhas of Arhats, Buddhas of Bodhisattvas, Buddhas of Bodhisattvas. The founder of Shakyamuni Buddhism, Shakyamuni (Buddha), was a Shakyamuni from the ancient kingdom of Kapirovi in central India. He existed in the middle of the first millennium BC. The three Buddhas are Shakyamuni, Amitabha Buddha, and Medicine Buddha.

What is Buddha?

The three major Buddhas are Shakyamuni, Amitabha, and Medicine Buddha. 1 Shakyamuni The founder of Buddhism, Shakyamuni (Buddha), was a member of the Shakyamuni tribe of the Kapila Guardian Kingdom in ancient India, who existed in the middle of the first millennium BC. At this time, the boom in commodity trade led to the rise of the Kshatriya class, the authority of traditional Brahmanism, which was an obstacle, was weakened, and Shamanism, including Buddhism, was active in the intellectual circles. 2. Amitabha Buddha Its name is amitayusa (amitayus) amitayusa (amitayus), also known as amitayus Buddha, immeasurable light, Buddha Guanzi Wang, Buddha Nectar King.

Green Buddhism

The evolution of Buddhist teachings (the Dharma)

Down through the centuries, as Buddhism spread across Asia and into the West, it has taken on a great variety of forms. As different lineages became institutionalized, a great flowering took place. The first two residential universities in the world, Nalanda and Taxshila, were Buddhist monastic organizations created in the 5th century; they operated for more than 750 years. Over generations during the 8th and 9th centuries, Buddhist communities created temple complexes of great architectural and engineering accomplishment, such as the Ajanta Caves in India, Borobudur in Indonesia, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and the Dunhuang Caves in China.

In what is known as the first Turning of the Wheel of Dharma, as Buddhism died out in India, it spread to Southeast Asia (Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand), with an emphasis on Buddha’s original teachings, community structures, and mindfulness meditation. This tradition is known as the Theravada, the Way of the Elders. A great text in this lineage is The Dhammapada.

In the second Turning of the Wheel, Buddhism spread to China, Korea, and Japan. There it became infused with Daoist and Confucian principles and became known as the Mahayana, the Great Way. Mindfulness meditation became more intimately connected with being in nature. This was also the crucible for the development of Ch’an Buddhism, which later evolved in Japan into Zen. The emphasis in Zen is on direct experience of reality, an iconoclastic rejection of scholasticism. Buddhist meditation became something for everyone, a much more inclusive perspective for laypeople than one where their sole role is to support their ordained brethren in the cloister or subservience to an authoritarian political system. A great text in this lineage is The Mountains and Rivers Sutra, by Dōgen in the 13th century.

In the third Turning, Buddhism encountered the shamanistic societies of the Himalayas and evolved into what is known as the Vajrayana — the Way of the Thunderbolt — with its dynamic techniques of visualization and meditation to create the mystic energy needed for inner awakening and transformation. A great text in this lineage is The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, by Gampopa in the 12th century.

All these lineages and traditions have found their way to the West. There are more than 600 Buddhist organizations and communities across Canada, and thousands more in the United States. You can find Buddhist groups all around the world; it is truly a global religion. But if you were to visit several of them, even in the same city, you would find that they may barely resemble each other in terms of what they think, say, and do.

What does Green Buddhism look like?

On a personal level, living a simple lifestyle and eating as vegan a diet as possible have always been central to Buddhist practice. At the other end of the spectrum, in terms of political structures, the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan has adopted a civic model of Gross National Happiness as its measure of civilizational success rather than Gross National Product and has become the first carbon-neutral country on the planet.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama was the recipient of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize based on his environmental work, and he has been a tireless advocate for the environmental health and biodiversity of the Tibetan Plateau (the world’s Third Pole), which is the source of the great rivers of Asia and is crucial to the well-being of literally billions of people in their watersheds.

In Ladakh, the Gyalwang Drukpa recently led his 15th annual Eco Pad Yatra pilgrimage, bringing environmental education services to remote villages. In India, the Karmapa’s environmental movement, Khoryug,  coordinates projects across many Buddhist monasteries. In Thailand (where injuring monks is taken very seriously), Buddhist bhikkhus have ordained trees to save them from illegal logging.

Five Main Colors of Tibetan Buddhism

There are five main colors known as Pancha-varna in Sanskrit, which means The Five Pure Lights, according to Religion Facts. Each color represents a state of mind, a celestial Buddha, a body part, a part of the mantra word Hum or a natural element.

Blue is associated with purity and healing. Akshobhya is the Buddha of this color. The ears are the body part that is represented by the color blue. Air is the element that accompanies this color. It is believed, when meditating on this color, anger can be transformed into wisdom.

White is the color of learning and knowledge in Buddhism. It is represented by the Buddha Vairocana. The eyes are associated with white. White is in the elemental group of water. If meditated upon, white can cut the delusion of ignorance and turn it into the wisdom of reality.

Red is related to life force and preservation. The Buddha Amitabha is depicted with a red body in Tibetan art. The part of the body associated with this color is the tongue. Fire is the natural element complementary to the color red. In Buddhism, meditating on the color red transforms the delusion of attachment into the wisdom of discernment.

Green is the color of balance and harmony. Amoghasiddhi is the Buddha of the color green. The head is the body part that is associated with this color. Green represents nature. Meditate on this color to transform jealousy into the wisdom of accomplishment.

Yellow symbolizes rootedness and renunciation. Buddha Ratnasambhava is associated with yellow. The nose is represented by this color. Earth is the element that accompanies the color yellow. Yellow transforms pride into wisdom of sameness when visualized in meditation.

These Five Pure Lights are often seen in Mandala and Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags and mani stones at mountaintops which you can see everywhere as you enjoy your Tibet tour. The colors may vary, but there is always a set of five.